Narcissistic abuse often leaves us isolated and alone, and when we finally gather up the strength to leave, we find ourselves without any supportive friends or family members who really get what we’ve been through. But a lot of times, we don’t even have anyone to hang out with, much less share our deepest, darkest thoughts with. So how do we start over as adults? How do we build a new community for ourselves and start our lives over again?
Consider these ideas to develop your personal community:
1. Define your interests. What do you like to do? If your favorite activity is playing poker and analyzing football games, a group that meets for needlepoint might not appeal to you. Think about the things you enjoy and make a list. There’s bound to be something in there you can work with.
2. Consider religious and spiritual groups. Check out a few churches in your area. Try to stay relatively close to home or you might find the inconvenience is too much to overcome consistently. Keep looking until you find a place where you feel comfortable and welcome.
3. Consider groups related to physical activity. Do you like to run? Play golf? Bowl? Compete in powerlifting? There are plenty of groups you can join. You can do something you already love to do and make a few friends in the process.
4. Look at the people you work with. You might not want to hang out with the same people you work with all day. On the other hand, you already know whom you like and don’t like. Maybe you could get a group together once a week for an activity.
5. Take advantage of the internet to find people. There are many websites that cater to finding like-minded people for meeting and socializing. Meetup.com is one of the most well-known. There are many others. See what you can find and fill out a profile.
6. Consider online communities, such as SPAN and our related communities. If you’re extremely shy, have an unusual schedule, or eclectic tastes, you might have more luck online. If your interests are hairless cats and howling at the moon, you can probably find your people online. Of course, there’s plenty to be found if you’re mainstream. Just be careful. It’s important to have some face-to-face interaction in your life. Avoid having your entire social life online. There’s no true substitute for sharing the same physical space with someone.
7. Be bold and be patient. The process of finding and bonding with new people can be stressful. You’ll have to use a little courage and be patient. It might take some time to find the right group.
8. Build your social skills. Avoid using a lack of social skills as an excuse to wait to find some new people. Just make an effort to build on your social skills in the process of finding your community. Practice builds expertise.
There are people out there just like you that would love to see you and interact with you on a regular basis. Resist the urge to be a loner 24/7. There are a lot of good things happening that you’re missing. No one is meant to face the world alone.
Still struggling? Check out our Rebuild Your Inner Circle course at Life Makeover Academy!